AM. Faringdon Triathlon 800m/52km/8.5km, HR 160(172). 2:09:41/2nd (and 1st vet)
Swim 800m/12:03 (1:30.4/100m) HR 148(156)
Cycle 52km/1:20:19 (c. 1:40 stopped = 1:18:39? (39.7km/h)), act. 1:19:37 HR 160(169)
Run 8.5km/36:27 (6:54 min/mile) HR163(172)
Total 2:10:27 – 1:40 = 2:08:47? Provisional results (http://www.stuweb.co.uk/swp/default.asp?a=2&e=348) say 2:09:41, so I’ve lost nearly a minute’s stoppage time somewhere.
Although I’d expect to do quite well at this event – it’s quite small, and last year’s 3rd place was off the back of little specific training whereas this year I’d done a lot more actual triathlon (well… swim and run) training – I wasn’t feeling too great on the drive to Faringdon. My tiny cold was worse, I was coughing, and my ears were so blocked I couldn’t hear a damn thing. Whatever, time to get down to business.
Racking my stuff was a bit of a hassle. Normally it’s a bit of a free-for-all, but this year they’d numbered the racking and you were supposed to go next to your number. Trouble is, the two people either side of me had brought everything but the kitchen sink. One had a massive laundry bag thing, which eventually worked out OK for me to lean my bike’s rear wheel against. The spot was a good one though, straight out of the swim and near the exits, so it was worth hanging on to.
My swim went OK, although I was disappointed to discover, looking at my splits later, that my new longer stroke was slightly slower than previous years. Maybe I need to go back to ttowel’s (Hywel Davies) swim school? although I’m hoping sessions with Oxford Tri (which I’ve just joined) will also bring some extra speed. Not to worry, T1 was very quick and I was soon out into the bike. There were temporary lights in Faringdon; we would be given a time bonus for any time lost on red here. Looking at my HR/speed data, I reckon I lost about a minute on the way out, and another 40 seconds on the way back. Looking at the provisional results though, I only seem to have been credited with about 40 seconds lost. The bike generally went OK, it was much warmer and less windy than last year and I was fine with the trispoke front/disc rear combination. I had a few dodgy moments forcing my way through the traffic on my way back through Fairford, but other than that I felt I paced it reasonably well.
I struggled to get my cold feet into my running shoes, but I was soon on my way in T2. I had some odd twinges from my quads early into the run, but it felt like I was really striding out compared to last year. I even managed to run all the way up the steep hill at 5km, which I didn’t last year. A quick sprint back through the outskirts of Faringdon and I was back at the finish. Looking back at the run, I only improved 3 seconds from last year! How? I’ve really worked on my running. I know that, personally, for good running like I managed at Bala Middle I need to be thinner, I think that’s just the way it works for me despite any amount of extra training mileage. My tiny cold definitely didn’t help today, and I was coughing all afternoon until a few beers were drunk in the evening
However, I’m still very happy with that result. I was expecting today’s race to be won by Lee Rankin, and I saw him out on the bike leg, but evidently he didn’t finish. I didn’t hang about for the prize-giving, past experience tells me it takes them an age to work out all the traffic light delays (there’s a permanent set in Lechlade to be accounted for too) and I’ve often been waiting there until well into the afternoon. Last triathlon of the season, nice to finish off with a good result.
I didn’t have the energy to go and watch Bradley Wiggins et al. racing in the BTTC championships just over in Buckinghamshire, so we cycled into town later in the afternoon and had a look at the exhibtion of Mapplethorpe polaroids at the Museum of Modern Art Oxford. They were interesting, in that you could see he was developing his style, although they aren’t as dramatic as the later portraiture he took with his Hassleblad.